Muses

Duchess of Windsor (1896 - 1986)

The American daughter of an old Virginian family, Bessie Wallis was married to an alcoholic pilot from 1916 to 1928 before divorcing and wedding Ernest Simpson with whom she settled in London and became close members of 1930s high society. Soon, Wallis Simpson met the Prince of Wales who was England's most sought after bachelor and both embarked on an adulterous relationship. In 1936, Wallis Simpson was granted a divorce and to most of England's disbelief and to the royal family's shock, the Prince of Wales chose to resign from the Crown to be able to marry the woman he loved. Named the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the couple promptly became privileged representatives of the Café Society – attending lavish costumes parties, throwing elegant dinners...their home in Paris becoming the place to be while the duchess's outfits were closely observed and admired – she who dared to wear Schiaparelli's surrealist designs and gave birth to the Wallis blue following her Mainbocher wedding dress. Yet behind the glitters of her jewellery collection, remained puzzling shadows: who was Wallis Simpson?  How did she manage to make a king give beneath the weight of his love? Many saw her as an enigmatic gold digger who had learned mysterious sexual techniques in Chinese brothels and the person in charge of the couple's Nazi acquaintances during World War II. The magnetic femme fatale nevertheless managed to emerge as a worldwide style icon, using fashion as a powerful popular weapon: 'You can never be too rich’ she supposedly said, ‘or too thin.'

Duchess of Windsor by Horst P. Horst, 1947
Duchess of Windsor by Horst P. Horst, 1947
Duchess of Windsor by Toni Frissell, 1950s
Duchess of Windsor by Toni Frissell, 1950s
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
The Duchess of Windsor by by Yousuf Karsh, 1971
The Duchess of Windsor by by Yousuf Karsh, 1971
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor, 1940
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor, 1940
Duchess of Windsor by George Hoyningen-Huene, 1937
Duchess of Windsor by George Hoyningen-Huene, 1937
Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
The Duchess of Windsor and Alleen Plunket by Patrick Lichfield, 1966
The Duchess of Windsor and Alleen Plunket by Patrick Lichfield, 1966
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1939
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1939
Wallis Simpson by Bertram Park, 1931
Wallis Simpson by Bertram Park, 1931
Duchess of Windsor by Robert Doisneau, 1949
Duchess of Windsor by Robert Doisneau, 1949
Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Cecil Beaton's drawing of the Duchess of Windsor. 1950s
Cecil Beaton's drawing of the Duchess of Windsor. 1950s
Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
Duchess of Windsor by George Hoyningen-Huene, 1937
Duchess of Windsor by George Hoyningen-Huene, 1937
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1960
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1960
Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1934
Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1934
Wallis Simpson by Bertram Park, 1931
Wallis Simpson by Bertram Park, 1931
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor at the Paramount Theatre in Palm Beach, 1948
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor at the Paramount Theatre in Palm Beach, 1948
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1955
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1955
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1943
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1943
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1955
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1955
The Duchess of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1943
The Duchess of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1943
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1943
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1943
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1955
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, 1955
The Duchess and  Duke of Windsor, New York, 1964
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor, New York, 1964
The Duchess of Windsor by Francis Goodman, 1964
The Duchess of Windsor by Francis Goodman, 1964
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1938
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1938
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1938
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1938
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1951
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1951
Wallis Simpson, 1920s
Wallis Simpson, 1920s
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar for Harper's Bazaar, 1940
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar for Harper's Bazaar, 1940
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1930s
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1930s
Wallis Simpson by Fayer, 1936
Wallis Simpson by Fayer, 1936
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Francis Goodman, 1964
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Francis Goodman, 1964
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1938
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1938
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1938
The Duchess of Windsor by François Kollar, 1938
Wallis Simpson by Man Ray, 1936
Wallis Simpson by Man Ray, 1936
The Duchess of Windsor attending Christian Dior's funeral. 1957
The Duchess of Windsor attending Christian Dior's funeral. 1957
The Duchess of Windsor's pugs by Horst P.Horst, 1964
The Duchess of Windsor's pugs by Horst P.Horst, 1964
Wallis Simpson by Man Ray, 1936
Wallis Simpson by Man Ray, 1936
The Duke and the Duchess of Windsor by Thomas D. McAvoy, Portugal, 1940
The Duke and the Duchess of Windsor by Thomas D. McAvoy, Portugal, 1940
Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1936
Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1936
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1936
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1936
Wallis Simpson, 1912
Wallis Simpson, 1912
Wallis Simpson with Ernest Simpson presented at court in 1931
Wallis Simpson with Ernest Simpson presented at court in 1931
Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton, 1937
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
The Duchess of Windsor, 1940s
The Duchess of Windsor, 1940s
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1938
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1938
Wallis Simpson, 1910s
Wallis Simpson, 1910s
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by David E. Scherman, Nassau, 1941
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by David E. Scherman, Nassau, 1941
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Philippe Halsman, 1959
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Philippe Halsman, 1959
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Philippe Halsman, 1947
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Philippe Halsman, 1947
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by David E. Scherman, Nassau, 1941
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by David E. Scherman, Nassau, 1941
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Philippe Halsman, 1947
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Philippe Halsman, 1947
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Duchess of Windsor by Horst P. Horst, 1947
Duchess of Windsor by Horst P. Horst, 1947
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, 1939
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, 1939
Duchess of Windsor by John Rawlings, 1945
Duchess of Windsor by John Rawlings, 1945
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Roger Schall, 1938
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Roger Schall, 1938
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Philippe Halsman, 1947
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Philippe Halsman, 1947
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
Duchess of Windsor by Cecil Beaton, 1937
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, 1956
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, 1956
Duchess of Windsor by Horst P. Horst, 1947
Duchess of Windsor by Horst P. Horst, 1947
Duchess of Windsor, Mrs. Winston Guest, general chairman of the ball, French ambassador, and the Duke of Windsor. April in Paris Ball.April 10, 1959
Duchess of Windsor, Mrs. Winston Guest, general chairman of the ball, French ambassador, and the Duke of Windsor. April in Paris Ball.April 10, 1959
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor dance the New Year in at the Sherry Netherlands, December 31, 1949
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor dance the New Year in at the Sherry Netherlands, December 31, 1949
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
Wallis Simpson by Dorothy Wilding, 1935
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, 1950s
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, 1950s
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor for Harper's Bazaar, 1966
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor for Harper's Bazaar, 1966
Duchess of Windsor by Horst P. Horst, 1937
Duchess of Windsor by Horst P. Horst, 1937
The Duke and the Duchess of Windsor by Thomas D. McAvoy. Portugal, 1940
The Duke and the Duchess of Windsor by Thomas D. McAvoy. Portugal, 1940
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor posed in front of Imperial LeBaron, 1962
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor posed in front of Imperial LeBaron, 1962
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